Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook admiring beautiful smiles when Scott Pelley from the CBS Evening News made the shocking announcement.
There is no scientific evidence that flossing is of any benefit.
My belief system was shaken. If I can’t trust 9 out of 10 dentists who can I trust? And is the 10th dentist the rogue responsible for this heretical research?
Is getting plaque scraped off my teeth every six months a big fat lie too? What about fluoride? Is this slowly poisoning me while adding no advantage?
I clenched my teeth in despair at the thought that the next major disclosure could rejecting the tooth fairy.
My flossing life flashed before me and I thought of the time, effort, and money I’ve wasted over the years:
- Adding floss to my shopping list
- Trying different kinds until I found the perfect blend of function and light minty taste
- Storing it in the cupboard over the toilet
- Fishing it out of the toilet
- Praising its waterproof package
- Nipping myself with pruning shears while opening the impenetrable package
- Applying a floss tourniquet
- Mopping blood from the walls, floor, and ceiling
- Flossing each tooth like my dental hygienist-who-I-used-to-trust taught me
- With one hand
- Cleaning the flecks and splotches from the bathroom mirror
- Throwing away the used floss
- Missing the trash can
- Extracting the floss from the beater brush of my vacuum cleaner
- But not before burning out the motor
- Buying a new vacuum cleaner
These memories left me feeling hopeless and bereft. I thought about my mouth guard and wondered if that is also a hoax. I contemplated scrapping it along with my faith in dentistry.
I saw visions of my grandsons, flossing their precious baby teeth as part of their bedtime ritual. How am I going to deal with their disillusionment at such fragile ages?
I felt down in the mouth when I thought of giving up the guilty pleasure of going to bed without flossing, one of my ‘go to’ activities when I want to live on the wild side.
I imagined families whose livelihoods would be destroyed when people adopt a floss-free lifestyle, and that’s when I knew I had to do something to save this industry.
I envisioned a soft, cuddly afghan with a slight peppermint fragrance adorning every sofa in America. I saw braided bracelets, woven potholders, laced up Thanksgiving turkeys, a waxed ribbon completing a lovely package, plumb lines snapped at construction sites, crocheted doilies, fancy trim for a bride’s dress, a tiny leash for a hamster.
I plan to start a marketing campaign to promote my ideas, but right now I’m too busy teaching my grandsons how to play cat’s cradle. Tip: I recommend unwaxed floss for this activity.
What about you? How has this latest research impacted your daily dental hygiene? Do you have other ideas on how to continue to use this obsolete product? I’d give my unflossed eyeteeth to read your suggestions.